Jan Heine wrote:
> In the 1930s Technical trials, there were bonus points for drum brakes -
> useful on mountain descents on gravel, where you can't just "let the
> bike roll," because the next turn won't allow you to brake hard.
> So after that, many randonneur bikes had rear drums. In the 1940s, the
> emphasis on light weight made them a little less popular, but there
> still were quite a few bikes so equipped.
> Don't know about the spacing. Maxi made both the cup-and-cone Maxi and
> the annular bearing Maxi-Car models, with up to three drum diameters
> (single, loaded single, tandem or something like that). Check out the
> camping Herse from 1948 in our book "The Golden Age of Handbuilt
> Bicycles." It has a Maxi drum brake and no other rear brake.
> There were other manufacturers, at least before the war, such as Ideal
> and others. Some even made front drum brake hubs, but these were less
On my commuter bike I have a set of front and rear drum brakes by Maillard. These were sent to Trek c.1982 as samples when we were spec-ing the "890" model commuter bike (basically, a 1st gen. MTB frame with narrower tires). We didn't use them on the model 890 because (IIRC) they did not pass the CPSC "lock up the rear wheel" test, but I ended up with the samples and have had them on my commuter bike for 20 years or so now. I don't think they were ever marketed in the USA due to CPSC regulations, but I'm not sure if they were marketed in Europe or if they were just one-off samples sent for our evaluation. In any case, I've never seen another set anywhere.
Appleton WI USA